Wednesday, December 29, 2010

sparkles.

ok, so this one will not be long, but i just had one of the best nights in a log time.

first off, i was late getting to my dinner party (or lack there of) with my FCA kids and turned out to have a very awkward dinner. true story. but when we left they were there normal selves (or at least what i could remember). after we strolled around the Avenue (which is a shopping center and not a street--confusing i know), got yelled at by a parent (funny story actually), and awkwardly said goodbye to the guys, laura and i made it back to her house to be met none other than Katie Price Hill herself and had a great night of fun and laughter.

my favorite story of the night is when katie fell at the skating rink when she was in 5th grade and broke her arm and peed all over herself. i would have been the kid to point and laugh. i actually did on the inside. thats why we are friends. we can make fun of each other and still find great value in the other. (**sorry if this embarrasses you KPH--even though i know that it wont)

well today was the start of an amazing weekend filled with fun, laughter, and Jesus. CK1 hurry up and get here so we can get this party started!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

roots.


today i got to spend time after church with two of my best friends, wesley and andrew.

we still had a good amount of snow in the yard to play in. and let me tell you i felt like a kid again. i told andrew that if we were actually kids we would have all the neighborhood children over at the house sledding with us. i miss times like that. shows me that im still a kid at heart.

the interesting part about all of this is that we used the resources we had around us to accomplish our goals. the sled was a seat cushion covered in two garbage bags. it had to be two bags or it wouldnt work. trust me. the man power was of course us. we were sled dogs. but what had us tied down to pull was by far my favorite. we used a 10 foot extension cord. it was quite humorous, but it did the trick. all of these matched together equaled hours of fun, but andy left us early so he cut it short, but we still had fun in the process. thank you Jesus for snow and friends.


Wesley chopped our snowman's head off so we could at that snow to our ramp....

Construction. That is Sawyer, Andy's pup.

At first they tried the bike to pull. Ineffective of getting someone over a ramp.


I almost died my last run and Andy was there for me in my pain.



Below is a first hand account of the ramp in action.....

video

This is the final run of the day. I got some sick air and almost died in the process....

video

Saturday, December 25, 2010

what you got?

this is the question that i have been asked today. it never fails though. every Christmas. every birthday. dont get me wrong, i love telling people about the things that i have gotten. and i think that is where i find my problem. it is so easy to tell people about the gifts that we get on a daily basis, but its hard for us, or at least it is for me sometimes, to tell about the Gift of eternal life.

i can remember when i was a kid, and it never failed that i would get back to school after Christmas break and was so anxious to discuss with all of my friends about the things that we got. and somehow my gifts were always the best. thats just how it all worked out. i may be a little biased, but hey what can i say? "Santa" knows how to throw it down at my house. but the excitement inside of me to tell others about the things that eventually ended up under my bed, closet, attic, or in a garage sale was overwhelming.

i want that same excitement every waking moment of my life to tell of the life giving power of my Savior. i have been given the gift of eternal life, and it was not made to be kept inside of me and left alone, or kept as a secret. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." (ESV) a godly life testifies convincingly to the saving power of God; and in response, our lives also glorify Him. this is a hard reality to live up to. but this is what we are called to. and if it helps any, it is coming from the One who came to "seek and save the lost." (Luke 19:10) that is encouragement to me. simply cause there is love behind it. yes, it is a command, but its comforting to know that the One who saved me is always with me in the midst of everything that i do. that is a promise He has given us. Jesus promises us in Matthew 28:20 where He claims after the great commission that "I am with you always, to the end of the age." and if you look at the beginning in Matthew 1:23 his name is Immanuel. translation: God with us. yeah, simple, yet amazing.

i love this gift. and i want to share it with others. i cant keep it to myself. why? because it isnt just for me. it is for all. from the one who chooses to remain blinded, to those who want the saving power of life in His name.

Merry CHRISTmas! I love you all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

refelctions.

so i have decided to update real quick. just a few things i have reflected on since i have been home.

1. i love my family. watched tones of movies. relaxed by the fire. talked. danced. yelled. and cried. all good of course. no worries.

2. i got to watch my sister Sarah(blog) get married. didnt think it would happen before me, but im glad it did. she married and awesome guy. my prayers go out to them.

3. life is fragile and short. dont know why i thought of this, but it hit me hard after a family friend hugged me after the wedding. she hugged me tight and whispered in my ear, "Keep praying for me." she has breast cancer and the doctors dont think she will ever be cured. but i stand firm on my belief that God is still at work in the midst of things. praise Him forever!

4. i miss a certain individual. you know who you are.

5. my heart still rings true for discipleship. it hurts to see others in pain. it hurts to see people not care. and im not talking about a pain that can be taken care of by temporary relief. its the same pain that i feel the Father has for them as well. still praying.

6. i miss writing in this blog on a normal basis. got a lot of things to discuss. so hopefully they will come soon.

7. i finally updated the look of this thing. i like it. explanation? the title, dan in real life, came from the idea that i wanted to be real with things. just tell my life. my feelings. my faith. keeping it simple but leaving room for so much reflection. the picture is a reflection of my love for God's word. those are my hands. my good friend Laura Register(blog) took that picture this past summer. i want to fall more in love with it every single day, and this is a great reminder of that. 1 Peter 2 is one of my favorite verses of all time. it speaks true to what God has called me to. what he has/wants to call you to. finally the wood background indicates that my life is still a work in progress. like a construction. im being added to and taken away from every single day. and i know that it will be perfected on the day of Christ return. until then i pray He continues to work on me.

that is all for now. more coming real soon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

why so serious....

"The calling of a New Testament worker is to uncover sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Saviour, consequently he cannot be poetical, he must be sternly surgical. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful discourses. We have to probe straight down as deeply as God has probed us, to be keen in sensing the Scriptures which bring the truth straight home and to apply them fearlessly."

i read this excerpt from My Utmost For His Highest today and thought to my self the deep and harsh truth that lies behind it. on one hand i want to ask for forgiveness from the Father for ever being "poetic" or making the Word of God less than what it is, and i know that i have, but on the other i want to passionately proclaim this life changing truth "fearlessly" like the above paragraph states.

Jesus in Acts 1:8 says, "What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit come on you, you will be able to be witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth." (The Message)

now, i am not a theologian by any means, but i do know some things about the context of words and the meaning lost in translation from the Hebrew/Greek to English. in this verse, the word "witnesses" is LITERALLY translated to the word "martyr". the dictionary describes this word as "a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause." im not being a smarty pants here or anything, but im pretty sure that Jesus wasn't speaking hypothetically here. he literally wanted us to suffer for the cause of Christ and lay down our lives so that others may know who He is. so with this truth before us, what do you think is the disconnect in your own life? for me, im not living up to the claim of the gospel in most cases. yes, there are times when i do suffer for the cause of Christ (camp, moving to MS, etc.) but i do NOT do it in every situation of my life. and in fact ill go ahead and claim that my life is a pretty feeble attempt to uphold this claim. do i think it should be done only sometimes? no. do i think that it should be every moment of every day? yes. look at Jesus' life. and you cant say "it's because He is Jesus. He is God." yeah, that may be true, but scripture says that He was in every way a man just like me. but if that one doesnt settle for you, look at the life of Paul and his radical change. or look at the life of Mother Teresa. this total sacrificial life devoted for the cause of Christ is possible and is required of us. Micah 6:8 says, "But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously—take God seriously."

did you read that? take God seriously. he has taught us and even SHOWN us how to live, and im pretty sure that's what i want to do. and when it comes down to being a witness for Christ, i full heartedly believe that it shouldnt be presented nicely. and by that, i mean not watering it down. the Gospel is the Gospel. it is the life giver. it is repentance. it is forgiveness. it is love. it is the corrector of wrongs. and the hope for all generations. preach it. proclaim it. hold nothing back. if God has penetrated your soul with his Love, then there should be no fear in life, nor fear in death. THIS is the power of Christ in YOU!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Very Merry Christmas!

Dave Barnes is a phenomenal musician, but i think he is also quite entertaining. enjoy!!




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

innocence.

tonight i had one of the coolest things happen to me.

i had a baby fall asleep in my arms.

i am playing Joseph in our Christmas program at church and we are using a "real" baby Jesus. his name is actually keaton. but it was so neat to have this child bundled up in my arms with a sense of trust in me to fall asleep.

reminded me of the love that God has for me. and how he wants me to climb up in his arms and find rest. so good.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

i'm cold and i need my cell phone.

this past weekend i had an amazing opportunity to serve at the Cobb County FCA Leader Retreat in Georgia. let me tell you that God blew me out of the water.

i actually began this adventure a week prior to arriving at beautiful Berry College (where the deer to student ratio is 8:1, yeah i know, crazy). i began praying intently for the things that were going to be taking place and it is so neat to see the Lord work in me even upon arrival. i just knew that it was going to be an amazing weekend.

my friend Laura Register is actually the one who invited me to serve with them this particular weekend. i was asking her questions about what the weekend would entail and she told me to expect for the kids to be a great example of the "Gimme" generation. these kids had it all. well not all of them, but most of them. she said that they would complain about it being cold and how much they wanted to use their cellular devices. so we coined the term for everything this weekend "Im cold and I need my cell phone." as funny as it may seem, it was actually true.

so i arrived on campus and met up with all of the other huddle leaders for a quick get to know you session and run down of how the weekend was going to go. all of these people knew each other in some way form or fashion, so i was pretty much the new guy. so, i took it upon myself to not make the situation awkward and jumped right in the group. i shared my testimony and it was humbling to say the least. i havent really done that in a long time, and was good to remind myself where the Lord has brought me. we collectively prayed over the weekend, and were dismissed. we moved to our cabins and waited for the kids to arrive.

These are some of the cabins that we stayed in. Amazing get away atmosphere!

well the first two kids in my cabin arrived around 6:00 and that was about it until we all went back to the cabin at 10:00. it was kinda awkward at first because these two kids didnt know how to respond to me and my awkwardness. but i tried to make small talk with them, and i finally figured out that for me to get to understand these middle school boys is to become...well... like a middle school boy. so we poked fun at each other and i made a fool of myself. needless to say that it kinda worked and before i knew it they were talking to me. score one point for me.

we went through worship and had our first session. we were then dismissed to go and have huddle time with our groups. this was basically a bible study, but on this particular night it was for us to get to know our guys. it was fun watching these kids interact with one another, especially since they didnt know each person from the next. we played a few games that i had up my sleeve (snort and look down, look up) they were a hit and we had some good laughs. after that we discussed what was gonna go down and we kinda settled in for the night. and by no means am i telling the truth. lights were out at 11:30 like they were supposed to be, but they didnt stop talking until around 1:30. that was wonderful, but expected. regardless we were gonna get up at 7:00 am as planned.

so i get up at around 6:15 to take a shower and pray (and i couldnt remember the last time i was up for a sunrise but it was neat), but something unexpected, yet very interesting happened. one of the kids was quick to follow me. his name is jack. now i didnt know it at this point in time, but this kid would have the rest of the weekend covered in prayer for him. i prayed for all my kids, dont get me wrong, but the Lord really grabbed my attention on this one....but anyways i get everyone up at 7:00 as planned (it was really 6:52, but who's counting) and we get moving. well our day began with our ceiling caving in on us. yeah, fun times. one of the boys decided to shut a door very gently and sure enough that caused the roof to give ever so slightly. so with insulation everywhere and the light fixture hanging from the ceiling, we got to repack and move to a different location.





You cant tell, but the whole roof is sagging in. Insulation was everywhere!








well the day progresses and we do all sorts of things. we had our morning work outs, quiet time, breakfast, worship, and competition. this is where i will stop in the day to discuss the lovely events of competition. now i will go ahead and tell you that Cobb County is a basketball/baseball hub of sports. and thats about it. but we didnt play baseball, we played soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and we had to throw in a people pleaser, so we played basketball. it was so fun watching the kids have fun at things they werent use to playing. specifically soccer. i could have easily taken all 11 of my kids down single handedly. but i enjoyed giving them pointers and being a coach again. this is when they started calling me "Coach Daniel" for the rest of the weekend. yeah, it brought me joy, what can i say.





We had such an awesome time playing. Laura dominated in bball and of course I rocked the soccer field!






well after that we went to lunch. now ill pick back up on where i left off with jack. up to this point he had been very aware of my surroundings. not that he followed me around, but i noticed he knew where i was at all times. he would listen to me, even if it didnt make sense. he was very intrigued in what i had to say. now this is when it hit me. he was like one of Jesus' disciples. they were men who hung on Jesus' every word. they followed him wherever he went and tried their best to listen and obey. it was such a simple truth to be revealed. it reminded me of the desire i should have in my own life to follow Christ with the child-like wonder the Jack was displaying. and i knew from that God had some great things in store for jack, but i wasnt quite aware yet, so i continued to listen.

we went through the rest of the afternoon sessions and free time. we all hung out for a while but i finally got a chance to catch up with jack and talk one-on-one. after some guidance from the Lord i discussed with jack the calling the Lord has placed on his life. jack is a natural born leader, and his happy, fun, loving attitude is contagious. now ironically, we were there for a leadership retreat, but like most of us know, as a leader you must learn to follow as well. jack wants to follow. i could see it in his eyes. and i could see the desire of the Lord and his wanting to consume this little 8th grade boys life. i told him that God had great plans in store for him, but he just needed to trust him. i asked him if it was worth it following Christ, and if he had counted the cost. (check here for the details of that discussion). little did i know that this exact same discussion would be held with the rest of the group later in the night.

Me and some of the boys. Jack is the one in the red jacket. Good kids!

we go to dinner, and jack served me. he got my food and saved me a seat next to him. this kid was blowing my mind. well we all eat and the go over to have some worship time. now this particular night of worship was very special. an experience that i had missed having. we sang our little hearts out in praise to our God, and the we listened to our speaker. i knew that the Lord was gonna rock out the evening and i was ready for what He was going to do. the speaker finished up his sermon and gave an invitation. let me tell you the response time was amazing. there were several kids who made a profession of faith. and then he asked the kids to hit their knees in prayer. wow. talk about a beautiful sight. 120 kids on their knees crying out to their Father. so amazing.

Worship!!

we dismiss into our huddle time and we were real with each other. we discussed what it meant to follow Christ. and how sometimes we dont show it. we talked about some of the things that hold us back from sacrificing our whole lives to Christ. and then i had them write those down. we walked down to the fire pit and threw those things in. and we joyfully talked about what Christ did for us on the cross. then we prayed. all of us. it was such a special time. a much needed time. for all of us.

after we finished praying it was snack time before our bonfire time. we all went in to the dining hall and went about our business as normal, but then it hit like wildfire. the huddle leaders began dancing to the music playing. it happened so fast, and the next thing we knew we had everyone dancing and doing the electric slide and such. two of my kids even performed the whole thriller dance for us. i was very impressed.





This was the best dance party I have had in a while!








the night closes out with some awesome confession/testimonial time at the bonfire, and then we all went back to the cabins for the night. all my kids were out by 12 except for 5 of them. those 5 sat beside my bed and we talked. good times were had with a few laughs and we called it a night.

the same pattern occurred from the previous night (aside from the roof caving in) and we dismissed at 11:00. but here is where it gets fun. before my boys left, i had a great time praying with each of them. i challenged them to step up in their faith and never settle for anything. i dismissed them, and was so refreshed from the blessing that all 11 of them were to me.

final challenge of the weekend: "When you got it, you got it. Now GO and live it."

no i dont know if i will ever run in to them again, but im fully aware of the things the Lord did in their hearts this past weekend, and i will continually pray for each of them and their journey's as they walk with the Lord.